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No employees? Let’s set the record straight on the real issue here.

Highmark is really trying hard to distract you from the fact that it intends to charge commercial subscribers more to visit most UPMC doctors and hospitals.

Even to the extent of running bizarre television ads about UPMC claiming we don’t have any employees.

Of course we do — more than 60,000 extraordinary people are directly employed by the many UPMC hospitals and other UPMC provider entities that provide life-saving care to thousands of people every day. It’s only the UPMC parent holding company that has no employees.

The real issue is the fact that Highmark intends to put UPMC in its most expensive tier for its commercial subscribers after 2014. That means Highmark subscribers who want to utilize their trusted UPMC doctors and hospitals would pay more — in the form of increased co-pays, higher deductibles, and all kinds of extra charges — just like Highmark is doing with Geisinger Health System in central Pennsylvania.

That is the only way they can get the tens of thousands of patients they need for their own Allegheny Health Network.

Don’t be misled by Highmark’s attempts to distract you from the real issue.

Just check out any of these insurers — Aetna, Cigna, HealthAmerica, and United Healthcare, as well as UPMC Health Plan — that will be offering full, affordable, in-network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals after 2014.

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